Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Jared Oliva & Winter Ball

Pittsburgh Pirates outfield prospect Jared Oliva is playing winter ball in Mexico this offseason where he is struggling at the plate

Entering the offseason outfield prospect Jared Oliva was a player who was identified as someone who was likely to be taken off the 40-man roster by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Oliva was able to survive wit ha 40-man roster spot into the start of Major League Baseball’s work stoppage. Due to the work stoppage Oliva’s 40-man roster spot will be safe for the foreseeable future.

In 59 plate appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates the last two seasons the right-handed hitting Oliva has hit for just a .179/.220/.214 slash line. He has struck out in 27.1% of his trips to the plate, walked in just 5.1% of trips to the plate, and he has collected just a pair of extra base hits, both of which have been doubles.

These struggles against MLB pitching is a big reason why Oliva appeared to be a safe bet to be taken off the 40-man roster. Factor in Oliva now being 26-years-old and his struggles at the Triple-A level (86 wRC+) last season, and it’s easy to see why Oliva appeared to be a safe bet to be taken off of the Pirate 40-man roster.

This offseason Oliva is playing for the Yaquis de Obregon team of the Mexican Winter League. While Oliva has made some changes to his swing in winter league play, he is still struggling at the plate.

Oliva has hit for a .241/.279/.397 slash line through his first 61 PAs on winter league play. Oliva has walked in 3.3% of his trips to the plate, struck out at a 24.6% clip and he has collected just four extra base hits (a double, a triple, two home runs), for an extra base hit rate of just 6.6%.

With Oliva struggling in Winter Ball it does not bode well for his development and long-term outlook. When the work stoppage ends and more roster moves are made Oliva remains a candidate to be taken off the 40-man roster. Even if he is one the 40-man when the regular season begins, he does not appear to have a long-term future with the Pirates. The organization never giving Oliva legitimate look last season despite the struggles/injuries of the Pirate outfield is  a sign that the organization is not high on Oliva.